For the past 17 years, my mantra has been, “I’ll do it myself!”
However, I’ve learned that in some situations, outsourcing is better than doing it all myself. You might be asking: Why am I so tired, overwhelmed, or working day and night? You’re making money, but you don’t have enough time to spend with your friends and family. You’re not enjoying the fruits of your labor. If this is you, it may be time to start outsourcing some of your tasks.
Knowing when and what to outsource can be tricky, especially if you’re a solopreneur. We have a tendency to do EVERYTHING by ourselves. We’re slow to recognize when it’s time to move something off our plate.
What’s Your Time Worth?
Time is one of your most important assets. Spend it wisely! Have you tried the fun exercise of calculating what your time is worth? Divide your monthly income by the number of hours you spend working in a month (approximately).
Some of you may be surprised at the “hourly rate” you’ve calculated. If the result is lower than expected, take a hard look at how you’re spending your working hours.
Could you outsource certain simple activities to free up time for true revenue-generating activities? Could you outsource tasks to improve your work-life balance?
Check out my six strategies for successful outsourcing:
1) Know what you want to accomplish
You’ve heard the adage, “Begin with the end in mind.” Before you outsource or hire an assistant, know what you want that person to accomplish. Have a clear goal in mind. Work closely with your assistant or outsourcing company to identify the steps to reach the goal.
The best assistant in the world won’t help you if you can’t tell him/her what you need. Let’s say you want to outsource social media ad campaigns. You’ll need to communicate: which platforms, how often to post, the types of content and images to post, the color schemes you have in mind, what kind of results you are expecting, etc.
2) Outsource super-advanced skills
Activities that require advanced skills or expertise are a great thing to outsource. Perhaps you need help with advanced SEO strategies or a Facebook Ads campaign. Or, maybe you are struggling to learn QuickBooks to keep your accounting records organized.
Of course, you may be capable of learning all you need to know to handle your own bookkeeping or run your own ad campaigns. However, someone else may be able to perform these specialized tasks better and much more quickly.
3) Outsource simple support tasks
Think about the tasks you do for your business each day. You probably have at least a few support tasks that don’t require a specialized skill base. Similarly, you may have duties that could be passed off with minimal training time.
These may be basic administrative tasks like invoicing clients, customer support, managing your calendar, entering expenses into Quickbooks, etc. Support tasks could also include things outside the office like running errands or hiring someone to clean once a week.
4) Do Not Outsource Your Marketing
I don’t recommend outsourcing your website or marketing. Your website is the primary place where people go to learn about you, who you serve, and your products/services. When you control your own website, you can update, modify, and clarify your message. Having to wait for someone else to do that for you is a big mistake. So always be in control of your website, and always be nimble enough to make changes anytime you want.
5) Start small and then grow
If you’re just getting started with outsourcing, you may not want to commit to hiring someone for a specific number of hours per month. Start by using a Virtual Assistant periodically for specific projects. Over time, scale-up and use them more. If you’re ready to hire a VA and don’t know where to start, check out my blog post, How to Hire a Virtual Assistant.
Even by just outsourcing a few basic administrative tasks, you’ll start to notice a difference in the amount of time you have. You’ll probably also notice that you’re happier having those tasks off your plate and that you can focus your time on your marketing message and attracting clients.
6) Don’t become entirely dependent on your assistant
While outsourcing is an amazing thing, you don’t want to become completely dependent on your assistant to run your business. Know how to do your assistant’s job duties, in case of an emergency. If you have been in business very long, you know that sometimes you need to “expect the unexpected.” Things happen. You should know how to perform all the activities that are necessary for day-to-day operations, even if you choose to outsource some of those tasks.
In conclusion, I’ve seen enormous benefits from outsourcing certain tasks in my business. Frequently ask yourself the question, “Is this the best use of my time?” Calculate the cost of the service and decide how your time is best spent. There’s no right or wrong answer. Just like every business is unique, the answer to what and how much to outsource differs for everyone.
This post was originally published in March 2016